The year 2018 marks one of the biggest years for the connected TV market, with the launch of Sony’s PS5, as well as Microsoft’s Xbox series X, both of which will use HDMI 2.1. HDMI version 2.0 was a huge step in the evolution of HDMI, introducing higher bandwidth, HDCP 2.2, 4K HDR, and more.
HDMI 2.1 was announced for the PS5 and Xbox Series X yesterday, and it’s not as exciting as you think. The new standard will be used to allow new features like 4K at 120fps, HDR, and the option to use one cable to connect your PS4 and Xbox One. The new cables are said to be backwards compatible, but with a resolution boost of only 2.1 times over the existing standard.
Since their release, it has become increasingly difficult to get your hands on a PS5 or Xbox X-Series. With Sony and Microsoft rushing to develop new consoles, it’s worth doing some research on what you might need when you finally get your hands on one of these machines. Because choosing the right TV can drastically change your gaming experience. Gone are the days of cumbersome SCART cables and connectors. For the past ten years, we have been able to use HDMI technology. What you may not know is that next-generation consoles can take full advantage of the latest and most advanced HDMI 2.1 technology.
HDMI 2 V HDMI 2.1
The HDMI 2 interface was great, but it only allows resolutions up to 4K, which is nothing special, but considering that the HDMI 2.1 interface can go up to 10K, it seems pretty outdated. HDMI 2 also allows you to achieve 60 Hz, which means your TV has a maximum refresh rate of 60 frames per second (screen refresh rate). This frame rate used to be the norm, but now HDMI 2.1 has completely changed all that. With HDMI 2.1, you can get twice as much at 120 Hz.
This means that the new HDMI 2.1 cables can transfer twice as much information as the old HDMI 2 cables in one go. It’s a big jump.
What you need for 8K gaming
The release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X means that TV manufacturers will have to rush to develop compatible TVs. It’s worth noting that you can still use HDMI 2.1 cables in the PS5 or Xbox Series X, as they are backwards compatible, but you won’t get the highest frame rates unless you have an 8K TV. To get the most out of your gaming experience, upgrade to a model with 120Hz refresh rate.
Personally, I think it’s worth upgrading your TV to 8K at 120Hz, otherwise you’ll only get a similar picture to the PS4 and Xbox One.
What you get with HDMI 2.1
HDMI 2.1 supports three very impressive features for PS5 and Xbox Series X console owners. These are variable refresh rate (VRR), automatic low latency mode (ALLM), and 120Hz 4K playback. You still need to read the fine print to make sure the TV supports it, but generally speaking, the HDMI 2.1 speaker means it’s compatible with them.
VVR is a feature that adjusts the refresh rate during gaming, and without it your TV will operate at 60 Hz. Since your console also tries to keep the frame rate at 60 frames per second, you get maximum performance even in the most demanding parts of the game, and it helps prevent screen tearing when one half of the screen behaves differently than the other half.
Currently, ALLM is only supported on the Xbox Series X, but it should be coming to the PS5 soon. ALLM is a function that improves the delay or reaction time between a key press and an action taking place on the screen. This is especially useful in FPS games.
HDMI 2.1 also supports 120 Hz for 4K movies. 8K is possible, but only a small number of games support it. But 120Hz in 4K means you’ll have a silky smooth experience every time you turn on the console, thanks to the incredibly high refresh rate. Again, you first need to make sure your TV is 8K compatible.
Do you really need an HDMI 2.1 cable for your PS5 or Xbox X series? The short answer is: No, you can use HDMI 2. However, you will get a much better picture if you decide to take it a step further. If you’ve already spent money on a next-gen console, it makes sense to go the extra mile and buy a super-fast cable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Xbox series X need HDMI 2.1 monitor?
No, Xbox series X does not need an HDMI 2.1 monitor.
Is it worth waiting for HDMI 2.1 for PS5?
It is worth waiting for HDMI 2.1 for PS5.
Can Xbox series X beat PS5?
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